Handle communal violence firmly, PM tells states

New Delhi, Nov 23 : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday expressed worry over the communal violence in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh last September and said state governments have the responsibility of tackling such disturbances with utmost firmness.

Addressing the annual director generals of police conference here, the prime minister reminded the senior police officials of rising expectations from them on the part of the general public, saying they were responsible for preventing crimes against women and must also ensure sensitive treatment of victims during investigation and trial.

He said some states have witnessed a substantial increase in the number of communal incidents and a major communal clash in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh last September took a large toll of lives, leaving thousands of innocent people displaced from their homes.

"This is most worrisome. We simply cannot allow such a state of affairs to continue. Our law and order agencies must ensure that trivial or local issues are not exploited by vested interests to incite communal passions. And once disturbances occur, they must be tackled with the utmost firmness and speed, without prejudice, fear or favour," the prime minister said.

He said state governments have the responsibility to ensure firm handling of communal situations.

"State DGPs present here have the responsibility to ensure that their police forces act in the required manner in preventing communal tensions and dealing with them once they do take place. I expect all state DGPs to discharge this responsibility fully," he said.

He said that the tragic rape and murder of a young girl in Delhi last December had brought into sharp focus the issue of women's safety and the rising expectations of the people from the police in preventing such crimes.

"We have recently enacted several laws providing stringent punishment for such crimes and more sensitive treatment of victims during investigation and trial. We also need to put in place other institutional mechanisms to ensure the safety and security of women and children," he said.

The prime minister said he expected DGPs to show leadership in putting in place institutional mechanisms for the security of women and children.

--IANS (Posted on 23-11-2013)

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